Thanks to the wonders of socialism and communism, China was either at par with or poorer than India for most of the 20th century CE. However, in 1978 China’s luck changed when Deng Xiaoping took over. Deng was a pragmatist, had the capacity to learn and do what needed to be done — make China great again.
In May 2014, when Modi came to power, I was absolutely delighted. India’s moment has come. Modi will do what Deng Xiaoping did for China.
But in about two months by July 2014, I realized that Modi was not Deng. In the years that followed, Modi showed his true colors: a power-crazed autocrat who was a cross between Nehru and Mao. He combined Nehru’s narcissistic self-obsession and general lack of vision, with Mao’s ruthless authoritarianism and disdain for people.
Modi was the amalgam of the worst that India and China had produced — Nehru and Mao.
It did not matter how duped and betrayed I felt after being an ardent supporter of his; what mattered was that India had missed a golden opportunity to lift hundreds of millions of people who are trapped in extreme poverty.
Back in May of this year, I wrote a bunch of tweets which was provoked by comparing the number of airline passenger-trips in India, China and US. (Click on image above to read the tweets.) I am reproducing them here, for the record.
As recently as 35 years ago, India was in some ways ahead of China. Now the only country that China is worth comparing to is the US. India has been consigned to oblivion because of its dysfunctional governance. Indian politicians & bureaucrats are the worst in the world.
India and China suffered immense poverty, thanks to insane socialist/communist policies. But Deng Xiaoping steered China toward free market capitalism in 1978. But the ignorant, thieving, stupid leaders of India, from 1947 to 2021 included, destroyed any future the country had.
It’s easy to lay the blame for the disaster that India is at the feet of politicians but remember that India is a “democracy.” Indians, in their wisdom, consistently elect the most ignorant, myopic, criminally dishonest to govern the country.
Disaster? Gargantuan catastrophe.
Bengal leads the pack of failed states. Caught between communism and Islam, it did not have much of a chance, anyway. Those who have any talent or skills, leave. The rest don’t seem to notice that they are digging their own graves and paying for the bullets that will end them.
I study India’s continued struggle with poverty and rapid descent into irrelevance with professional detachment. But it is impossible to watch the needless destruction of the land of my ancestors without pain and sorrow.
The way out is clear. But Indians refuse to take it.
There was a glimmer of hope in May 2014. I thought Modi will be India’s Deng Xiaoping and rescue India from the hell of Nehruvian socialism.
Turns out that he is more socialist than Nehru, more Islamic than ayatollahs, more appease-o-holic than Gandhi. India’s greatest disaster.
Lord Acton said that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Modi has had near absolute power in India for many years now. He could have rescued India.
I don’t delight at his certain downfall soon — there’s nothing in the worthless, incompetent, corrupt bunch that will replace him. Modi’s vanity was his undoing. He came to believe the lies about himself that he told others.
His lack of humility is a reflection of his ignorance of his comprehensive ignorance of how the world works. Like Rahul Gandhi, he doesn’t know that he doesn’t know. (Cue Dunning-Kruger effect.)
Modi is an extraordinarily gifted person. Amazing memory, total recall of names & faces. Powerful speaker. Tireless worker. Supremely ambitious. Highly intelligent. Laser-sharp goal focus. But evidently he chooses wrong goals. It’s because he lacks wisdom and understanding.
Modi is perhaps the greatest politician India has ever produced. Compared to him, MK Gandhi was an amateur. Modi understands the criminal political mind well. Naturally so. He can manipulate them. And win elections by manipulating the poor by promising them goodies.
Winning elections is one thing. Understanding what the right thing to do is another. Thus spake the great Khagan emperor, Genghis Khan:
“Conquering the world on horseback is easy; it is dismounting and governing that is hard.”
The hard stuff has escaped Modi.